Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts | 501 S. Sapodilla Ave, WPB, FL 33401

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Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts | 501 S. Sapodilla Ave, WPB, FL 33401

THE MUSE

Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts | 501 S. Sapodilla Ave, WPB, FL 33401

THE MUSE

Behind The Curtains

Backstage planning and preparation accompany the return of the annual collaborative Prism concert to the Kravis Center
Strings+sophomore+Petra+Dababneh+practices+with+her+bandmates+in+a+backstage+storage+room+before+going+onstage+at+the+Prism+dress+rehearsal+on+Nov.+28.+Before+each+song%2C+performers+gathered+there+to+collect+themselves+and+rehearse+their+music.
Belén Rivera
Strings sophomore Petra Dababneh practices with her bandmates in a backstage storage room before going onstage at the Prism dress rehearsal on Nov. 28. Before each song, performers gathered there to collect themselves and rehearse their music.

The Dreyfoos Hall curtains in the Kravis Center, illuminated by the “DSOA Music” logo’s violet glow, rose once again for another holiday season, revealing behind it a choral symphony bathed in colorful lighting. Whether it be students and faculty at the morning dress rehearsal or family and guests in the evening, the crowd’s applause accompanied the first notes of “It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” resonating throughout the concert hall. 

Sold-out audiences were welcomed to another year of the annual Prism concert at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts on Tuesday, Nov. 28, now the 11th year of the event being held at the venue.

Long considered a staple of school culture and a hallmark of the music department, over 400 music students were offered the opportunity to perform renditions of popular holiday pop songs, cultural pieces, and time-honored carols. While the show may seem “organized” on the surface, the behind the scenes of the show can be, as strings senior Destin Phung puts it, “kind of chaotic.” The Prism environment for the audience may slightly differ from that of the performers themselves: one of preparation in anticipation of the coming show.

“There are definitely a lot of bumps along the way,” Phung said. “It’s pretty fun because you’re with your friends and the end product is worth it, but at the same time it’s almost organized chaos.”

In addition to the hours of practice each performer put in individually, during a series of eight after-school rehearsals with the entire music department, the performers went over everything from practicing their songs, positioning, to transitioning from one piece to the next. For those in multiple ensembles, like band junior Naomi Grant (who performed with the wind ensemble, Philharmonic orchestra, and a small ensemble), Prism practices are marked by frequent run-throughs. Occasionally these run-throughs happen for several parts of the concert, following one after the other.

“I had to adjust my mindset for each of (the three ensembles), coming from a very big ensemble to a small one,” Grant said. “It depends on the ensemble, but most of the time it’s rushing to get to stage and trying to make sure we’re at our places on time.”

Those going for the role of a solo or duo performance had additional auditions months in advance. For vocal junior Peter Hennessey-Correa, who performed a solo during the Singing Gents’ (the men’s chorus) rendition of the Spanish Christmas carol “Ríu Ríu Chíu,” lots of practice, along with “getting into the groove” during the song, calmed his nerves for performing for such a large audience.

“I get pretty nervous, but I make sure that I know my solo so even if those nerves get to me, that I’m going to do it correctly anyway, and just making sure that I have it down so I don’t even need to think about it to sing,” Hennessey-Correa said.

The Kravis Center backstage wasn’t just reserved for music students, but also for a few theatre students who were able to help with many technical aspects of the concert alongside the Kravis Center staff. Technicians like theatre senior Maya Gary (who worked as a backstage coordinator) made sure that the entire performance ran smoothly, organizing proper placement and making sure the groups made it to their assigned performance spaces, while at the same getting to learn from professionals. 

“For the most part, (the dress rehearsal) went as smoothly as I was hoping it to, and the performance went even smoother,” Gary said. “I worked on Prism last year as well, and that was when I felt the largest difference in terms of working in a larger venue, working with a lot more professional adults that I could learn from, and see how they work to shift my work accordingly.”

Since the school invites elementary and middle schools from around the county to watch the concert’s dress rehearsal, many of this year’s freshmen were able to experience Prism from the other side of the curtain, becoming a part of the production that they previously only saw as part of the audience.

“It was cool being a part of the show instead of just watching it every year because you could see what was happening underneath the stage and behind the scenes,” vocal freshman Vincent Castro said. “One thing’s for sure, it’s a lot more hectic than normal because offstage, you just see everyone there, but on stage, you know what it takes to get everyone on stage, and that’s a whole process.”

As for the teachers who have taught the students, coordinated the show, and went through the motions of producing Prism, they had to ensure that different holidays and cultures were represented and that the music choice fit the environment and their students. The culmination of their students’ efforts during class time and after school ended months of rehearsal and preparation with a standing ovation.

“Overall, (I’m proud of) how much better it got over the course of two days, especially coming right off of break, and then not meeting ever for 10 days,” jazz director Christopher de Léon said. “How hard they worked to get everything better and perform such a performance is really what I’m proud of.”

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Jeremiah Alondra, Copy Editor
Jeremiah Alondra is a second-year staffer and head copy editor on The Muse. An avid history buff, a proud Filipino, and a self-proclaimed "foodie", he is excited to begin a new school year working for The Muse by editing/writing impactful stories and overseeing the copy section. He is currently planning for that senior trip that everyone supposedly takes when they graduate.
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